IOWA CITY, Iowa – – The University of Iowa announced Friday its plan to discontinue four intercollegiate athletics sports programs at the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year: men’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis. The announcement was made by President Bruce Harreld and Gary Barta, Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair.
In an open letter, Harreld and Barta make the following statement:
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a financial exigency which threatens our continued ability to adequately support 24 intercollegiate athletics programs at the desired championship level. With the Big Ten Conference’s postponement of fall competition on August 11, UI Athletics now projects lost revenue of approximately $100M and an overall deficit between $60-75M this fiscal year. A loss of this magnitude will take years to overcome. We have a plan to recover, but the journey will be challenging.
The four sport programs will have the opportunity to compete in their upcoming 2020-21 seasons, should the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 permit, before they are discontinued. All existing scholarships will be honored through graduation for those student-athletes who choose to remain at Iowa. The contracts of affected coaches will be honored.
Factors considered in this action, in part, include sponsorship at the NCAA Division I level, impact on gender equity and Title IX compliance, expense savings, history of the sport at Iowa, and engagement level.